Discover the Battle of Agincourt…On Our Shelves!

October marked the 600th Anniversary of Henry V victory at the Battle of Agincourt and you can find various items on our shelves from across the centuries which give an historical account of the famous battle where the English were outnumbered by the French…

Henry at Agincourt from: British Battles on Land and Sea, vol. I by James Grant [940.1/GRA]

The French…took post between Rousseauville and Agincourt, and gave notice that they would engage him on the twenty-fifth of October. Finding it impossible to avoid an action, he accepted the challenge, and presented the herald who brought it, with a rich robe, and two hundred crowns. During this interval of three days, he employed every means, which prudence could suggest, in order to prepare his men for the approaching combat.” Clarendon’s History of England [942/CLA]

Some of the items, like the British Battles on Land and Sea by James Grant, give a very atmospheric description of the run up to the battle…

The night before Agincourt was dark and rainy, and to the toil-worn English it was one of hope and fear, for 100,000 French lay there before them; thus the odds against them were as seven to one. Amid the darkness of the October night, and the sheets of descending rain, they could see the whole landscape glittering with the watch-fires of the French; and frequent bursts of their laughter and merriment were borne on the passing wind, from those who were grouped about these fires or their banners, as they fixed the ransom of the English king and his wealthy barons…” p77 British Battles on Land and Sea[940.1/GRA]

There is also an account of the battle, all be it brief, from the French historian and poet Emile De Bonnechose’s History of France in our General History section which also holds items on various place across the world…

They engaged in battle at break of day. The French cavalry, restricted by want of space, flung themselves pell-mell upon a soil moistened by rain, and, under a shower of arrows, rushed upon the sharp stakes which the English had planted.” p280 History of France vol. I [944/BON]

The battle was immortalised in Shakespeare’s play Henry V and not only are there copies of the play on our shelves, but also a copy of Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotlande and Irelande (originally published in 1577) in the collection, which Shakespeare used as a source for his historical plays…

from; Chronicles of England, Scotlande and Irelande by Raphael Holinshead [942/HOL]

Thus after a long and cruell battell, by the demerits of their great pride, there approached no man of the French to battell, but to death, of whom after that an innumerable company were slaine, and that the victory surely remayned to the Englishmen, they spared to slay, and tooke prisoners of the French, both Princes and Gentleman in great number. In this mortall battell, the Noble king of England never failed his men, for no danger of death, but fought with his enemies with an ardent heart, as a famished Lion for his pray, receiving on his helmet and on the residue of his armour, many and great strokes.” Holinshed [942/HOL]

From; A Complete History of England: vol I [942/COM o/s]

These are just a few of the items in our collections which cover the Battle of Agincourt and there are many more on the shelves including, A Complete History of England, which contains biographies of the Kings and Queens of England and this impressive portrait of Henry V himself.


Find more by searching our library catalogue


One Reply to “Discover the Battle of Agincourt…On Our Shelves!”

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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